BY DAVE STEEL
What would it look like to live every day with Jesus as your closest companion? Does the thought appeal to you? Is it even possible?
According to Jesus, it’s not only possible. It’s necessary.
Jesus put it like this: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Disciples of Jesus are as dependent on him as a branch is dependent on the vine from which it grows. Without the enabling presence and power of Jesus, we can do nothing of spiritual significance.
For some, the thought of being that dependent on anyone sounds demeaning. But to a genuine Christ follower it sounds like freedom, because admitting our dependence on Christ actually frees us from our delusion of self-sufficiency. (No one was ever really convinced anyway.) Coming to grips with our dependence on Christ clears the way to pursue a wholehearted discipleship with him, one that’s not hindered by foolish pride.
Ultimately, the decision to admit our inadequacy and embrace Christ’s sufficiency is a decision to leave behind a life that yields nothing of spiritual value for a life that yields much fruit.
To remain—or as some translations put it, to abide—in Christ is to live in utter dependence on him. As R. A. Torrey put it,
To abide in Christ is to renounce any independent life of our own, to give up trying to think our thoughts, or form our resolutions, or cultivate our feelings, and simply and constantly look to Christ to think His thoughts in us, to form His purposes in us, to feel His emotions and affections in us. It is to renounce all life independent of Christ, and constantly to look to Him for the inflow of His life into us, and the outworking of His life though us.
Living out this radical union with Christ is what being his disciple is all about. Andrew Murray was a nineteenth century disciple who understood this, as reflected in one of his prayers:
Thou sayest: Abide in me! O my Master, my Life, my All, I do abide in Thee. Give Thou me to grow up into all Thy fullness. It is not the effort of faith, seeking to cling to Thee, nor even the rest of faith, trusting Thee to keep me; it is not the obedience of the will, nor the keeping of the commandments; but it is Thyself living in me as in the Father, that alone can satisfy me. It is Thyself, my Lord, no longer before me and above me, but one with me, and abiding in me; it is this I need, it is this I seek. It is this I trust Thee for.
Does Murray’s prayer stir something in you? If so, why not offer Christ a similar prayer in your own words.
R. A. Torrey, How to Pray (Chicago: Moody, 1900), 66.
Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer (New York: Fleming H. Revell, n. d.), 166-167.